1998 – Visionary Anthropology Book The Cosmic Serpent is Published
Following two years he spent studying the Asháninka indigenous community in the Pichis Valley in Peru, Swiss-Canadian anthropologist Dr Jeremy Narby produced and published a firsthand account of his discoveries in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge.
In this densely scientific book Narby proposes that the helix structure of the DNA has been known to indigenous societies in distinct symbolic forms, such as the “twin snake,” since ancient times. He ties the presence of this knowledge directly to the visionary communications of plant teachers like ayahuasca. Narby describes some of his own ayahuasca visions as imagery of two giant, intertwined snakes, and compares them to the visions of his shamanic hosts.
Narby further argues that the Asháninka are far from alone in believing in a grand “creator-snake,” providing evidence of the existence of celestial twin serpents in mythologies around the world. Ultimately, he elaborates, the snake is a representation of our own genetic makeup and, like in our DNA, it’s the source of our wisdom and knowledge.
This, Narby explains, is how indigenous shamans are able to develop all the wealth of healing powers that can astound and humble western science if it’s able to transcend its superiority complex and recognize that empirical knowledge adoption isn’t necessarily the only viable means. With the help of ayahuasca, Amazonian shamans are able to intuit the diagnosis of the patient’s illness and visualize the image of the plant that can cure it.
Perhaps no other book has done as much to spread the awareness of ayahuasca as The Cosmic Serpent. The way it weaves adventure, science, culture, and deep philosophical thought, grounded on a massive reference list of anthropology and science.
The book is on our list of the top 15 ayahuasca books to read.